71 die in Abuja blast
16 buses, other vehicles destroyed 236 affected by blast – Minister Hospitals overstretched Red Cross distributes 200 body bags We’ll defeat Boko Haram – Jonathan Sultan: We must wake up to challenges
At least 71 people were killed and 124 others critically injured as a suspected suicide bomber attacked a bus station during the morning rush hour in Abuja yesterday.
Witnesses said high capacity municipal buses were about to set out for the city less than 10 kilometres away when the bomber struck.
Force Headquarters spokesman Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Frank Mba said 16 buses were destroyed in the blast that happened around 6:55.
Witnesses said a number of smaller buses, cars and scores of commercial motorcycles and their riders were consumed in the blast.
A huge crater left by the blast, charred wreckage of vehicles and mangled bodies on the ground tell the story of the devastating power of the blast.
The ground was still strewn with human body parts when security personnel and emergency response officials arrived the scene.
Panic set in as the sound of the explosion rocked Nyanya, a sprawling settlement on the edge of the eastern part of the city that is home to middle and low
Terrified commuters fled the area in all directions.
But many began to return as the dead and the injured were being evacuated to hospitals.
Security personnel tried in vain to hold back the crowd that seemed mainly interested in observing the operations than any concern about their safety.
Most of those that died in the blast are thought be government workers or those who work in service companies.
CSP Mba said Police anti bomb squad along with agents from other security forces have commenced investigation into the blast.
He also said the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Abubakar has ordered all police formations to be on red alert and increase surveillance on all motor parks and other vulnerable points in Abuja.
No group has yet claim responsibility for the blast, but President Jonathan during a visit to the scene implied it was carried out by members of the Boko Haram sect.
“The security services will continue to work very hard, God willing we will get over it. The issue of Boko Haram is temporary. Surely, we will get over it”, he had said.
How it happened
Two witnesses who spoke to Daily Trust had slightly different narratives of how the attack was carried out.
One witness who claim to be a security operative but declined to give his name said he was standing at an elevated building and watched as the blast happened.
According to him, the perpetrator came in a Sienna van and parked it close to a bus in the crowded park, before the blast occurred.
He said he suspected the device used to be a cylinder bomb wedged under the vehicle, which he noted made the vehicle to explode upward.
However in his own account of the blast, a ticket vendor at the park told Daily Trust that the vehicle used was a Volkswagen Golf car, which the suicide bombers parked in front of a bus.
He said the car immediately exploded after four occupants left the car, killing almost everybody within the blast radius.
Scene of the bomb blast at Nyanya Bus Terminus in Abuja yesterday.